In 2010, an attempt was made to quantify bird species breeding in the Opava Mts. and their foothill (c. 135 km2, including c. 40 km2 [31%] of forests). The area is situated in the extreme south of Opole Silesia, SSW Poland. For most non-passerine species, total counts were made for the whole area (distribution of their breeding pairs is shown on maps), while for most passerine species, semi-quantitative studies were conducted. A total of 116 breeding and two probably breeding bird species were recorded. Changes in breeding avifauna of the area during the years 1880-2010 are also analysed based on literature search. A total of 134 breeding bird species were recorded over the 130 years. During the years 1990-2010, decreae in numbers has been evidenced for the following species: Perdix perdix, Tetrastes bonasia, Tyto alba, Athene noctua, Corvus frugilegus, and Nycifraga caryocatactes, In the same period, increase in numbers has been documented for species such as: Accipiter gentilis, Falco tinnunculus, Columba oenas, Jynx torquilla, Dryocopus martius, Picus canus, Picus viridis, Motacilla cinerea, Luscinia megarhynchos, Phoenicurus phoenicurus, Saxicola rubicola, Locustella naevia, Locustella fluviatilis, Corvus corax and Corvus cornix. Opava Mts. and its foothills constitute an imporant conservation area. Fifteen species listed in Annex I of the Bird Directive of the E.U. were recorded there, including a sizable population of Ficedula albicollis.
Orsolya Valkó, Rocco Labadessa, Salza Palpurina, Sabina Burrascano, Atushi Ushimaru and Stephen Venn
Palaearctic grasslands are diverse and dynamic ecosystems that are in the focus of ecology, conservation biology and agronomy. This special issue is dedicated to the biodiversity and conservation issues of Palaearctic grasslands and was initiated by the Eurasian Dry Grassland Group members attending the 14th Eurasian Dry Grassland Conference (EDGC) at Sulmona, Italy in 2018. The papers in this special issue cover a wide range of grassland ecosystems from mountain dry grasslands to lowland loess grasslands, feathergrass steppes and wet grasslands, and focus on the biodiversity values and conservation issues of Palaearctic grasslands. We believe that this compilation will contribute to a better understanding of the ecology of grasslands and support their more effective conservation.
The unpublished zoogeographical views of louse flies from genus Hippobosca deposited in Collection of the Zoological institute of Russian Academy of Sciences in St. Petersburg, Russia from Transcaucasia are summarized. A total 248 deposited samples and one recent sample belonging to species Hippobosca equina Linnaeus, 1758 and Hippobosca longipennis Fabricius, 1805 from Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia, Southern Caucasus and north-western Iran are presented.
Jürgen Dengler, Stefan Widmer, Eline Staubli, Manuel Babbi, Jamyra Gehler, Daniel Hepenstrick, Ariel Bergamini, Regula Billeter, Steffen Boch, Sven Rohrer and Iwona Dembicz
The upper Rhone valley in the Swiss canton of Valais is one of the driest and most continental of the inner-alpine valleys and harbours a rich xerothermic flora. We studied syntaxonomy and ecology of dry grasslands and their species richness patterns. In 2018 we recorded 28 vegetation plots (10 m2) and three nested-plot series of 0.0001 to 100 m2 on the south-facing slopes above the village of Ausserberg. Mean richness of all species ranged from 1.7 on 1 cm2 to 47.3 on 100 m2, with little contribution of bryophytes and lichens. The species-area relationship for total richness closely followed a power function. Modified TWINSPAN yielded a three-cluster solution, which could easily be matched with three orders of the class Festuco-Brometea: Stipo pulcherrimae-Festucetalia pallentis (xeric, rocky), Festucetalia valesiacae (xeric, non-rocky) and Brachypodietalia pinnati (meso-xeric). The subdivision of the xeric types into two orders is new for Swiss dry grasslands, where these types up to now had been joined in a single alliance Stipo-Poion within the Festucetalia valesiacae.
Jürgen Dengler, Alla Aleksanyan, Didem Ambarlı, Idoia Biurrun, Iwona Dembicz, Anna Kuzemko, Péter Török, Stephen Venn and Michael Vrahnakis
This report summarises the activities and achievements of the Eurasian Dry Grassland Group (EDGG) from January 2018 through July 2019. During the reported period, two Eurasian Grassland Conference (EGCs) took place: the 15th EGC in Sulmona, Italy, and the 16th EGC in Graz, Austria. The 11th and 12th EDGG Field Workshops studied vegetation diversity patterns in the inner alpine valleys of Austria and Switzerland, while the 13th Field Workshop was organised in Armenia. The formerly electronic newsletter of EDGG (Bulletin of the Eurasian Dry Grassland) was transformed into a peer-reviewed international journal, called Palaearctic Grasslands, which now is attracting both scientific and photographic contributions. Furthermore, the EDGG homepage was re-constructed with a new design and content management system. The EDGG has also finalised two grassland-related Special Features during the past 1.5 years in the international journals Tuexenia and Hacquetia, and contributed with eight chapters to the book Grasslands of the World: Diversity, Management and Conservation. The vegetation-plot database GrassPlot, containing standardised multi-scale data from Palaearctic grasslands and closely connected with EDGG, has developed well, as did some other regional and national grassland-focused databases.
Balázs Deák, Csaba Albert Tóth, Ádám Bede, Iva Apostolova, Tatyana M. Bragina, Ferenc Báthori and Miklós Bán
Eurasian steppes have an essential role in conserving biodiversity, but due to the huge habitat loss in the past centuries they are often preserved only in small refuges. Among such refuges are the ancient steppic burial mounds (the so called ‘kurgans’) which have a high cultural and historical importance and are also essential sites of nature conservation. Despite their high number (approximately half million) and conservational importance there is a huge lack of knowledge on the locality and conservational state of the kurgans in most regions of Eurasia. To fill this knowledge gap, we built a public database which allows to record and query basic information on their cultural values and factors (such as land cover type, threatening factors, cover of woody species) that might serve as a basis for their effective conservation. The database provides a transparent, public and easy-to-use source for conservation managers and landscape planners focussed on grassland conservation. In addition, it also provides background information for other associate disciplines and public agencies dealing with the protection of cultural heritage.
Paper presents a systematic global review of Acer negundo, Fraxinus pennsylvanica, Ailanthus altissima, Robinia pseudoacacia invasions focusing on the Scopus and Web of Science databases. We examined the data on papers, study areas, habitat studied, topic discussed. We hypothesized that these species were studied evenly throughout their invaded ranges and, as such, indexed by international databases. We asked whether four selected species are presented evenly in publications related to their invaded ranges, and whether both selected databases cover well a content of these papers. We found 48 papers for A. negundo, 14 – for F. pennsylvanica, 83 – for A. altissima, 96 – for R. pseudoacacia. A high percentage of the studies were conducted in Central Europe and USA (for A. altissima), while Eastern Europe, Russia, Western United States were poorly represented. Most studies were conducted in forests, and focused on impacts or distribution of aliens in invaded range, and their control and management. We encountered habitat types invaded by trees, factors influencing tree invasions, consequences of invaders’ impact on ecosystems, counteracting measures. We concluded that the use only Web of Science and Scopus is not sufficient to obtain the complete data about the invasion biology.
Jan Ježek, Jan Votýpka, Jana Brzoňová and Jozef Oboňa
A zoogeographical review summarized the current distribution of 28 morphologically determined horse fly species recently collected in three Western Africa countries. In Malaise trap collections, the family Tabanidae was represented by three subfamilies, Pangoniinae, Chrysopsinae and Tabaninae (tribes Philolichini, Chrysopsini, Tabanini and Haematopotini), and six genera: Philoliche Wiedemann, 1828 (1 species), Chrysops Meigen, 1803 (3 specis), Ancala Enderlein, 1922 (2 species), Euancala Enderlein, 1922 (1 species), Tabanus Linnaeus, 1758 (13 species) and Haematopota Meigen, 1803 (8 species). Information contained in the principal publication The Catalogue of the Diptera of the Afrotropical Region 1980 is complemented by newly published studies on horse flies in Sub-Saharan Africa.
Bohumír Lojkásek, Stanislav Lusk and Jiří Mlčoušek
The study summarises results of the ichthyologic research of the Podolský and Stříbrný brooks in Hrubý Jeseník. The research was organised for the purpose of finding the actual situation in the fish settlements in the sections of interest and to make suggestions for their further management benefiting the original fish communities.
The results have shown that there is the community of water organisms with naturally reproducing Cottus poecilopus and Salmo trutta in both partly adjusted water flows which have not been restocked by man since 1996.
The facts found within the research suggest that the biologically correct way for the further development of fish populations in the Podolský and Stříbrný brooks may be the maintenance of the existing natural conditions while no local adjustments of the flow beds along roads should be excluded.
The research results have proved that the existing natural conditions and the very limited anthropogenic pressure put on the water biocenoses have been the decisive factors during the formation of the now existing fish population structures which can be assessed as good from the ecological point of view. Because of that we have recommended to the manager of the water flows neither interfering in the development of the current fish populations nor restocking any fishes.
We consider the finding that the age structure and the high numbers of Salmo trutta and Cottus poecilopus have been, in the given situations, the indicators of their populations’ ability, even at the sympatric presence of Lutra lutra and Ciconia nigra, resistant against the predators’ pressure, as very important.
Csaba Albert Tóth, Balázs Deák, István Nyilas, László Bertalan, Orsolya Valkó and Tibor József Novák
Prehistoric mounds of the Great Hungarian Plain often function as refuges for relic loess steppe vegetation and their associated fauna. The Zsolca mounds are a typical example of kurgans acting as refuges, and even though they are surrounded by agricultural land, they harbour a species rich loess grassland with an area of 0.8 ha. With a detailed field survey of their geomorphology, soil, flora and fauna, we describe the most relevant attributes of the mounds regarding their maintenance as valuable grassland habitats. We recorded 104 vascular plant species, including seven species that are protected in Hungary and two species (Echium russicum and Pulsatilla grandis) listed in the IUCN Red List and the Habitats Directive. The negative effect of the surrounding cropland was detectable in a three-metre wide zone next to the mound edge, where the naturalness of the vegetation was lower, and the frequency of weeds, ruderal species and crop plants was higher than in the central zone. The ancient man-made mounds harboured dry and warm habitats on the southern slope, while the northern slopes had higher biodiversity, due to the balanced water supplies. Both microhabitats had different assemblages of ground-dwelling invertebrates.